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Cancer. 1997 Mar 15;79(6):1158-65.

nm23--relationship to the metastatic potential of breast carcinoma cell lines, primary human xenografts, and lymph node negative breast carcinoma patients.

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1
Department of Pathology, The Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27157, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Since the discovery of nm23 (nonmetastatic) by Steeg et al. in 1988, a number of tumor cohort studies have shown an inverse relationship between the levels of expression of the nm23-H1 protein and disease aggressiveness and tumor metastatic potential.

METHODS:

The relationship between the expression of nm23 protein and the metastatic potential of human breast carcinoma was analyzed in cell lines, xenografts, and in a retrospective lymph node negative breast carcinoma population. The lymph node negative breast carcinoma study was comprised of 40 patients: 19 with nonrecurrent and 21 with recurrent disease. The 40 patients were matched according to age, cathepsin D, tumor size, percent S-phase, DNA ploidy, steroid receptor status, and tumor grade. Nm23-H1 protein levels in cell lines and xenografts were analyzed quantitatively using Western blot analyses and semiquantitatively in tissue sections using immunocytochemistry. Immunocytochemical analysis of lymph node negative breast tumors was graded as the percent of tumor staining positive for nm23 and the intensity of staining. The metastatic potentials of the cell lines and xenografts were assessed as the ability to form metastatic lesions in nude mice. In the lymph node negative breast carcinoma patients, the metastatic potential was characterized as the incidence of breast carcinoma recurrence.

RESULTS:

The MCF-7 cell line expressed four- and tenfold higher levels of nm23-H1 than the highly metastatic MDA-MB-435 and MDA-MB-231 cells, respectively. Among the xenografts and cell lines, there was an inverse correlation between nm23-H1 expression and metastatic potential in athymic nude mice (correlation coefficient [R] = -0.51). The differences between the levels of nm23-H1 among the metastatic and nonmetastatic cell lines and xenografts were not statistically significant. Statistical analyses indicated that neither the intensity nor the percent of tumor staining positive for nm23 expression was correlated to the recurrence of breast carcinoma in the lymph node negative patient population that had been matched for other clinical prognostic markers.

CONCLUSIONS:

There was an inverse correlation (R = 0.51) between the levels of nm23-H1 expression in cell lines and xenografts and the metastatic potential in nude mice. In the retrospective lymph node negative breast carcinoma population, no clear association was demonstrated between the expression of nm23 and breast carcinoma recurrence. This observation suggests the nm23 expression does not predict outcome in lymph node negative breast carcinoma patients.

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